Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday for an entire minute in Xi’s native language.
Although Facebook is banned in China, Zuckerberg was more than cordial with the foreign leader as he conversed with Xi in Mandarin. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post after the meeting:
“On a personal note, this was the first time I’ve ever spoken with a world leader entirely in a foreign language.
“I consider that a meaningful personal milestone.”
Xi and Zuckerberg met with several of the world’s business leaders at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Washington, yesterday, but while Zuckerberg was thrilled by the experience, many Chinese activists were not so amused, according to South China Morning Post.
Prominent dissident Hu Jia was infuriated by the encounter because he did not believe that Zuckerberg fully understood the plight of the Chinese people who suffer from their government’s decision to reject the social network. Hu said:
“Mr Zuckerberg is either ignorant of China’s politics or shameless.”
A smiling Lu Wei, China’s internet tsar, was on hand for the conversation between Zuckerberg and Xi. Although Lu refuses to grant Facebook access to China’s nearly 650 million internet users, he seems to hold Zuckerberg in high regard.
Last November, Lu said:
“The bottom line for foreign internet companies to enter China is they obey Chinese laws and regulations.”